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Modern MBT Headlights

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AKA_The_Titan #1 Posted Aug 03 2017 - 22:39

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This question might be a bit more esoteric than normal, but I have been thinking about it lately.


What kinds of headlights (or if someone wants to be technical, "lamps," ) would be expected to be fitted to a modern MBT?


Having watched my share of Hatch videos, I think the standard post-war setup seems to be: "service" (the standard typical circular "white" headlights,) infrared (black lens, used with night vision (?)) blackout (horizontal beam of light with "hood" above it to provide visible driving light while masking it from view from other directions) and marker (a "strip" emitting a pattern used to maintain proper separation between vehicles in a convoy.) However, it doesn't seem this configuration is entirely used today.


As far as I can tell, the Abrams only has two headlights, the service light and what I presume is the marker light. However, I think I heard that there are IR black lenses that can be attached to the service lights as well. Most other nations' MBTs have an amber light as well (I'm tentatively assuming turn signal?) The Lerclerc and Ariete also have a second smaller white light which I don't know the purpose of.


As far as questions go: 1.) is the average headlight configuration for modern MBTs a service light + marker light, with attachable IR lens stowed somewhere if needed? 1.5) If so, why were post-WWII tanks equipped with separate white/IR lights? 2.) Have the blackout driving lights been deleted for the most part due to the prevalence of night vision technology? 3.) What is the purpose of the amber light and smaller "white" lights?

Edited by AKA_The_Titan, Aug 03 2017 - 22:39.

RRR3 #2 Posted Aug 03 2017 - 23:39


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It isnt really needed anymore, due to thermal imaging, GPS, IR optics as you mentioned. In addition lights make you easier for the enemy to see, so more often than not the light aren't used for the same purpose we use the headlights on our own personal vehicles. It is really interesting as you have showed when you dig into the different types, and the purpose of them. How combat has changed so quickly, haha in the next decade they may all be computer controlled, just look at the new Russian MBT.

The_Chieftain #3 Posted Aug 15 2017 - 17:34

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Near as I can tell, the thinking behind the single lens on M1 was that if you were in a tactical environment, you would never need the white-light lens, and if you were in a garrison environment, you would never need the IR lens.


Of course, reality was that we would have to swap around as necessary in Iraq, depending on whether we were low-viz or high-viz.


Yes, many tanks do indeed have turn signals.

Ie_Shima #4 Posted Sep 12 2017 - 20:24


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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Aug 15 2017 - 17:34, said:

Yes, many tanks do indeed have turn signals.


I can imagine being stuck behind a M1A3 for miles with his left turn blinker going the entire way.  Good think they don't let me have a vehicle with any kind of armament: I tend to get pissed when that happens.

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